Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06

Just like clockwork, Tiger Woods returns to the virtual green yet again for another installment of his long-running EA Sports golf series. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 seems to show some of the most drastic changes to the series yet, including an improved putting system, a Rivals Mode that shows an inventive touch, and full Xbox Live support. However, you can clearly see the strain behind some of these ideas, including a slightly useless implementation of the second analog stick and little flaws here and there. It's still a great game, but is it beginning to show its age?

The Score:

+ Rivals Mode is a genuine addition to the game, taking you through time to challenge the greats. Skills 18 is fun, too.

+ Xbox Live support is in, ahem, full swing.

+ The core gameplay remains about the same, but still comes off naturally.

+/- The game's graphics still look like they're at the top of their game, although some stuttering framerate issues do arise.

+/- Faherty and McCord couldn't be better, but the EA Trax are a strange mix. No customized soundtrack this year either.

+/- The putting system has seen some slight improvement, but you probably won't get too much into the "shape stick". Too gimmicky.

+/- GameFace is back and still works, but the voice alteration system seems to be put in mainly for comical effect.

Bottom Line:

Tiger Woods swings for the green, and comes up just slightly short, but still manages to make the score. I think the general problem I had with the game is that a couple of its core additions, namely its "shape stick" and its other glaring issues, bring it up short. That's not to say you won't have fun with it, though. Rivals Mode is more than worth the price of admission, and the fact that the game finally supports Xbox Live will have you forming your own golf league. I'm looking to name mine The Duffers myself, and, no, not because of Homer Simpson. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is worth putting around with. Just don't expect an "A" game.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.